Author of Never Check Email in the Morning Julie Morgenstern suggests spending the first hour of your workday email-free. Choose one task - even a small one - and tackle it first thing. Accomplishing something out of the gate sets the tone for the rest of your day and guarantees that no matter how many fires you're tasked with putting out the minute you open your email client, you still can say that you got something done. Once you're "open for business" and paying attention to incoming requests, it's too easy to get swept away into the craziness. So get your day started off on the right foot, with just one thing done.It's an interesting idea; I've often noticed that my most productive days are ones where I can immediately dive in and start something. After that, the rest of the day just seems to go so much more smoothly. Brokamp also mentions the idea of "Most Important Tasks" (MITs). The idea is that you should have three MITs for the day, that one of those MITs should relate to a long-term goal, and that one of them should be your "starter task" for the day.
I think I'll give it a try. Not sure that I can get out of the "check email first thing in the morning" habit that easily, though... I may have to declare that my day doesn't start until I actually arrive at work, otherwise I'm likely to die from net withdrawal before the day even begins.